With their pick in the 5th Round of the 1977 MLB June Amateur Draft, the Montreal Expos selected Tim Raines from Seminole High School in Sanford, FL. Tim Raines has 3 true rookie cards and 1 rookie-year card.
Tim Raines Shortened Rookie Season
He is regarded as one of the greatest leadoff hitters and baserunners in baseball history.
Voted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013 but it did not come that easily here in the U.S.
He received 86% of the vote in his tenth and final year of eligibility in 2017.
Tim played football in High School and was really good in fact, he had an opportunity to take the NFL route but choose MLB instead.
In 1981, his rookie season, Tim Raines put up some impressive numbers batting .304 and had the most stolen bases for a rookie with 71.
The hook? 1981 was a strike-shortened year. The strike lasted about 60 days which means no regular-season games were played.
One can only imagine what his final numbers would’ve been under a full season.
An impressive rookie season no doubt about it but he still fell short of the 1981 Rookie of the Year honors.
Raines was runner-up to Los Angeles Dodgers pitching phenom Fernando Venezuela.
The Speed Stealing Stats of Raines
The most impressive stat is his base stealing, between 1981-1987 he had at least 70 stolen bases each year.
Career totals for stolen bases put him at No. 4 all-time, behind Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock, and Ty Cobb.
Also, noteworthy, while playing for the Chicago White Sox he set an AL record, 40 consecutive times he successfully stole a base.
His batting statistics aren’t too shabby either.
He was a switch hitter with a career .385 on-base percentage and a .425 slugging percentage.
This made him one of the best leadoff hitters in the game.
1986 was his best year winning NL Batting Champion and Silver Slugger Awards while batting .334 with an on-base percentage of .413 that year.
A fact that impressed me most, he is 1 of only 29 major league ballplayers to play the game in four decades, 1979-2002.
Career Stats & Accomplishments
Tim played professional baseball for 23 years. 13 years with the Expos, 5 years with the White Sox, a 3-year stint with the Yankees, and one-year deals with Florida, Baltimore, and Oakland.
Batting Avg .294 | Stolen Bases 808 | Hits 2,605
- 7x All-Star
- 2x World Series Champion (1996, 1998)
- 1x Silver Slugger
- 1x Batting Title
Tim Raines True Rookie Cards
1981 Topps, #479 (RC)
For the first time in 26 years, Topps had some competition in 1981 as Donruss & Fleer make their premier in the hobby.
In 1980 Topps opted to remove their logo from the front of their cards. But because of fierce competition, they quickly put their name back on the front with this 81 set.
I’m not a fan of multi-player rookies on one card but I can quickly make an exception when it entails the rookie card of Hall of Famer Tim Raines.
1981 O-Pee-Chee, #136 (RC)
Another viable option comes from up-north. O-Pee-Chee gives us their version of a Tim Raines rookie card. The front and back of this gives us brand name and a much lighter card board stock in the back.
However, card number will be different on this one as the O-Pee-Chee set was a bit smaller at only 374 cards. Cards for the Canadian teams offers full team checklist, while all other teams it only gives a partial roster.
Recent market trends show O-Pee-Chee baseball cards increasing in value. Probably due to fewer graded cards inside population reports.
1981 Topps Traded, #816 (RYC)
This 132 card set is an extension to the Topps set. In a scurry to get an edge on the competition Topps released their base set early, this set the stage for its first Traded set.
It can be said that it is an extension of the base set because there identical in design and are numbered 727-858, a literal continuance of the base set.
Also, this should not be considered a Tim Raines rookie card because he appeared in the 1981 Topps (card pictured above) set earlier in the year.
However, collectors were not discouraged by hobby politics and embraced this card of Tim because it featured him by himself.
Today, technically speaking this should not be considered a rookie card.
Because a long-time hobby standard states, “a rookie card is the first base card featured in a set.” This is his second card featured in the set. But still a great early rookie-year card to own.
Happy Collecting Collectors,
Learn. Collect. Enjoy.